Do Something Every Single Day To Improve Your Squash!

Fitness

These articles have something related to fitness in them.

Hard training describes the amount of effort you put it. Smart training describes doing the most effective training. Often we train “hard”, sweat, feel like we accomplished a lot, yet it could be the totally wrong thing required to make you a better squash player.

What's The Difference Between Hard And Smart training?

Let’s take a real example. You have a fantastic forehand kill from the middle of the court. You have this great shot because you have specifically practiced it. You did that because when you first started solo practice, it was one of the things you did better than the others shots. It’s nice to hit good shots, so you did it for longer than other shots. pretty soon, you love practicing this shot because you have become really good at it. You have even developed a reputation within your club as the “Forehand Killer”. Every time you practice other shots, they just don’t feel as smooth as this forehand. You do those other shots, but you probably do the forehand for twice as long. It’s enjoyable and you feel as they you really have a good training session. Who wants to hit shots they are not good at? Phew. I probably laboured that point, but I really wanted to drive it home. When we are good at something we tend to enjoy it. We tend to enjoy it because we are good at something. It’s a training-performance circle. We are not lazy. Those workouts and training sessions are hard work. We sweat and we ache the next day – it must have been a good session, right? Yeah, maybe, but was it the best use of your time? Time For Some Smart Training! Smart training requires you or somebody else asses your game and produce a list of 3 top priorities. That can be difficult, e specially if you don’t have a coach or experienced player to help you. However, if you are honest with yourself you can probably find one or two things that you know need serious improvement. Perhaps that backhand service return, perhaps that forehand drop shot, it could be anything. It’s clearly something you are not very good at – probably something you don’t like practicing.…

Essentially, one is a physical process, the other mental. Reaction Time is how fast your body can move to a stimulus. Anticipation is making a decision based on what you see AND what has happened in the past.

The Difference Between Reaction Time And Anticipation?

Let’s Start With Reaction Time Reaction Time can be decreased by training. There are plenty of drills, exercises and equipment you can buy to help you do that. There is something called a Reaction ball, and the video below shows how to make a cheap and easy homemade version. As I just mentioned, there are plenty of drills you can do, and you have probably seen videos of coaches throwing balls for players to catch or reach starting on the T. These are great because they require very specific squash movements that should include racket preparation or even swings. Anything longer than a second’s worth of work, which I know doesn’t sound very long, starts to work other system of the body, not just your reaction time. This type of training should be performed at the beginning of a session, as it requires fresh muscles to gain the most from it. Of course, in the real world situation of a competitive match, you will be required to react ALL through the match, the training is what actually matters. I really like the reaction ball as it’s one of the easiest things to use on your own. Most other reaction training requires another person because you need that element of “unknown” involved. However, there’s more to reaction training than simply moving as quickly as possible to a stimulus. You also need to be able to control the racket and ball, so I like my pupils to stand near the front wall and hit forehands and backhands to themselves, either standing closer and closer to the wall or hitting the ball harder and harder. The reaction training comes from having to move the racket as quickly as possible to unexpected positions. Do a hundred shots then do something else. Do it three times each time you go on court and that should help. What is he going to play? Moving Onto Anticipation…

Watch any professional match and you will always see lots of shots to the back of the court. Pro players seem to hit the ball to the back so much! Buy why? Read on to find out.

The Shot Budget

Money Versus Risk The first thing to understand is that pros play squash for a living. That might sound obvious, and it is, but that means winning is not just about pride and glory, it’s about money. The more matches you win, the more money you win. So losing is bad, really bad. You don’t want to take many risks, and that’s why the ball is hit to the back more than amateur games. They take fewer risks. If the attacking or probing shot is not really on, just wait until it is. Nobody won a tournament by going for nicks at every slightly lose ball. Well, maybe Ramy did, but he was special. Fitness It’s very easy for me to sit here and type the above paragraph, but you need the fitness to be able to wait for the right shot, and of course professional squash players are much, and I really do mean much, fitter than amateurs. Not just “fitter” in the general sense, but faster, stronger, more able to endure long, hard matches, more flexible and more mentally strong, which will lead us onto the next point in a moment. The tempo that they play at might seem quite fast on TV or even when you watch live, but actually on court it’s unbelievable. But even pros can be made tired by hard rallying. The threat of hitting short makes each deep shot all the more effective. Boast, drop , deep drive? Who knows until the last possible moment. The Waves Hitting The Shore It’s not uncommon for a few pro matches to start quite close in the first and maybe even the second game, but then the constant pressure becomes too much for the weaker player and suddenly the match is over. Amateurs often think matches are won with nicks, and it’s true that those shots are the dramatic visual end of a rally, but the…

There’s a misconception among club players that you “should only play against better players” and it is so far from the truth. Let me tell you why.

Play Different Players Not Just Better Players.

We all want to be challenged, stretched, made to work hard, and playing against better players does that. We come off court feeling as though we have trained hard. Perhaps we got close in one or two games and perhaps we didn’t, but either way, we are getting better, right? Yeah, probably, but are you maximizing your training time? The difference between you and the better play is important, if it is too big then they win too easily, if it is just a little bit, then that’s better. The problem is that squash, and most other sports, doesn’t have a linear scale of “better”. The world rankings would suggest otherwise, but that’s because humans like lists. The reality is that play A beats player B, and player B beats player C, and sometimes player C beats player A! So who is the best player? it’s not a list any more, it’s a circle. AAAAHHH! I won. Clearly, I am not suggesting that you shouldn’t play better players, that would be stupid. What I want you to do is play different players. Each player represents a different puzzle. A puzzle that must be solved. The skill and fitness level of a player is very important, but it’s more interesting than that. if you have played enough team squash, you have probably encountered players that are really hard for you to beat. At first glance, there is nothing special about their game, nothing that makes them look unbeatable. You see them playing somebody else and think “I can beat them”. But then when you are on court, it’s a different story. Your best shots are easily reached, you can’t seem to find their weaknesses, nothing you try works. BAM! You lose. All you practice with the better players doesn’t matter any more because you didn’t solve the puzzle. This is why playing in leagues, ladders, inter-club team matches, tournaments and club…

The simple and direct answer is YES! However, like most activities, it also depends on doing it properly. Having good technique when swimming is just as important as having good swing technique when playing squash. In fact, it might be more important due to the potential for injury. I’ve seen some terrible strokes that look like they do more harm to the person than good! So make sure you stroke technique is not terrible.

Online Squash Coaching

Squash players can suffer from back, hip and knee issues because, and let’s be honest, squash is a very physically demanding sport. Some courts do not have a sprung floor, this means that moving around a court for 45 minutes puts a lot of pressure on your body, especially if you are not a good mover. To compensate for this pounding, exercising in water allows the body to recover, but also allows you to exercise your cardio system and your muscles, while giving your bones a rest. Often people ask questions like, “How often should I swim?” and “What type of swimming should I do?” and the answer is more or less the same for everybody. Anything less than once per week is more useful for the mind than the body. If you swim less than once per week, you body will not become accustomed to the exercise and it won’t really benefit you. This is of course assuming that you are playing squash at least once per week and some other training too. Perhaps make swimming a regular session the day before your weekly match or club night. That way, you do some exercise without straining yourself too much. I probably won’t recommend more than twice a week either, simply because the time might be better spent on court doing solo or pair drills. Swimming should be seen a supplementary to your core squash training. Use it to give your body a rest from gravity. The next question is what type of swimming. Well, the first part of the answer is a variety of strokes. Ignoring the butterfly, which most people can’t do, if you can do the other three strokes: front crawl, backstroke and breast stroke, do them. All three work the arms, shoulders, back and chest, but the breast stroke is great for hip strength and mobility. You can mix some long swims with shorter more intense…

A lot depends on the type of injury and how you did it, but the simple answer is NO! Nobody likes having to stop playing their favourite sport or doing their favourite fitness activity, but in the long-term, resting is the best course of action.

Should I Continue Playing Squash When I am Injured?

Ideally, you should visit a medical professional as soon as possible, but that is very easy for me to type and a LOT harder (and expensive!) for some people to do. I am certainly NOT going to give you any advice for any particular injury, even the much repeated R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) is not always the best thing to follow. That’s why seeing a medical professional is your best option. I can tell you though that I have NEVER heard of an injury becoming worse by resting! At the beginning of this article, I mentioned that a lot depends on how you injured yourself and sometimes that injury can come from training too hard or not using the correct technique. Becoming the best squash player you can, requires you to do the things that YOUR game needs, not what everybody else is doing or advises. For example, your game might require improved skill and control, not just improved fitness, so your time is better spent doing solo drills or conditioned games. I am not saying that you don’t need to work hard to become a better squash player, because you do, you really do, but you need to work hard on the things that matter. A well-balanced training programme never puts too much stress on one aspect of your body or mind. It includes injury prevention exercises and always uses a proper heat up routine. Video Squash Coaching from the comfort of your sofa! One of the hardest things for sports people to do is NOT do the thing they love, so resting is particularly frustrating for active people. However, that self-control and patience is a reflection of a strong mind, a mind that thinks long-term not just a few weeks away, and that is how you must approach these situations. There could be other types of training you could do, visualization for example, or maybe some…

Sometimes we have to stop playing squash. This could be due to work or family commitments, injuries or many other reasons. If we are lucky, we eventually come back to squash.

Playing Squash After Taking A long Break

Coming back to squash after a long break is a delicate time, especially if you haven’t been very active in the meantime. In addition, a lot depends on your age when you stopped, your current fitness level and your age now. But here are a few suggestions to help you start playing again without getting injured immediately! The first thing I suggest is to go on court alone for the first few times. Perform some solo hitting and a little ghosting (See What’s The Best Way To Improve Your Squash Footwork? for more details about ghosting). The reason I suggest this is because it allows you a chance to improve your timing without worrying about playing against somebody and also stops you from over-exerting yourself the first few times you play. In addition, you should also do some leg and core strengthening exercises for a few weeks before you start to play. This is something you should do regularly anyway to improve you fitness and mobility, but also to stop reduce the chance of injury. I also highly recommend learning about and performing a proper “Heat Up” before going on court, even if you go on court alone. This will help reduce the risk of injury AND help you play better squash. “Why can’t I just start to play?” you rightly may ask. Well, you probably already know the answer: once you get on court with another person, it can be very difficult to control your enthusiasm and effort. You could easily over-stretch for a ball or play for too long the first few times and suffer for it the following days. Video Squash Coaching from the comfort of your sofa! It’s not my intention to scare you or convince you not to play or even play another sport, it’s just that I know how easy it is to come back after a break and think to yourself “I’ll just…